Blog 2 – Strong VS Weak Organizations

Strong: Calgary Farmer’s Market

The Calgary Farmer’s Market is one organization that fits the bill of ‘impressive’ in terms of what they’re doing on social media. One of the reasons why I started following this organization is because I was doing research for a local client of mine (St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market). I wanted to see what other like-minded businesses were doing, and get some ideas as to how they could improve.

They’re very active on Instagram and Facebook, and showcase their vendors (and themselves) by way of photos and videos. They take polls and surveys, and ask questions to keep their followers engaged. Branded content, using computer generated graphics, is mixed into the fold which is a nice visual break. 

They also highlight their followers by sharing farmer’s market photos in their stories.

The market also offers a monthly newsletter to keep people informed, and makes sure their website is up to date with current events and offerings.


Strong: Crafty Ramen

The second organization that’s doing great things online is the Crafty Ramen, a local Ramen noodle restaurant (and one of the yummiest). I started following them because of my affinity towards noodles.

One of the things I really like about this business, is that they seem real and down-to-earth. There are no gimmicks, just good food. They illustrate their food mostly through photos, and occasionally will add illustrative touches to photographs and pops of colour. They also feature the owners and staff members on social media, which I absolutely love.

They’re active on Facebook, Instagram, and also have a monthly newsletter for subscribers. Their website is well-maintained, and offers at-home kits for you to DIY at your convenience, gift cards, and noodle subscriptions.


Weak: St. Jerome’s University

An organization that could improve on social media is St. Jerome’s University. They post fairly frequently, but their posts lack fun and excitement, and look quite dated (they take on a scrapbook feel). Due to the pandemic, a lot of their posts are not of students, but of information. I would advise them to encourage their students to share their ‘at home’ study experiences so that they can engage their followers in a more real and meaningful way.


5 Ways to Make the Most of Being an Expat

5 Ways to Make the Most of Being an Expat

In our globalized world, more and more people are taking the opportunity to live and travel overseas.  Whether it’s teenagers taking a gap year before university, young professionals accepting a work transfer abroad, or seniors retiring in the sun, there are more and more reasons for people of any age to settle in a different country. 

Old Quebec City

But what exactly is an ‘expat’?  Good question.  An expatriate is a temporary or migrant worker who lives and works in another country for a set period of time.  The difference between an expat and an immigrant is that expats usually plan to go back to their home country at some point.  Countries and cities with a lot of migrant workers often have a vibrant expat community, who provide security and support for people who are feeling far from home or who are experiencing culture shock. 

Expat communities are a great way to get to know the local area, but they are not the only way.  Social media can come to the rescue and help people make the most of their travel experience.  So here are 5 ways that social media can help you make the most of being an expat.

Travel Blogs

No matter where you go in the world, you are sure to find someone who has blogged about it.  Travel bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, but one of the advantages of bloggers’ pages is that they tend to be a bit more honest than most travel literature.  Your travel guide is all well and good to get a general impression of a place, but bloggers often live in the places they write about and have some up-to-date inside knowledge on how things work.  They’re often good sources of tips and tricks for surviving in a foreign land.  Many travel bloggers are migrant workers themselves, often living there on temporary work visas and doing bar work or teaching English.  Blogs can not only give you inspiration for local places to visit, but can also give you some realistic expectations for what living in a lace is really like. 

Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto, Japan

A lot of blogs cater to specific needs as well as specific places.  For example, JourneyWoman is a blog that caters to solo female travellers, with tips on what to do and how to stay safe.  For couples, Practical Wanderlust gives some insight into navigating travel for newlyweds.  For seniors, Life Part 2 can inspire people to get out of their homes and make the most of their twilight years. 

There are also blogs that follow specific themes, such as eco-friendly travel, LGBTQ+ advice, and outdoor adventures.  Expat blogs are more detailed than travel blogs, such as Travelling Mama’s adventures in Morocco or Diary of a White Indian Housewife, which describes a white Australian’s life in Mumbai, India.  So, wherever you move to, be sure to check out the local blogs and get the inside scoop!

Social Networks

Most people are familiar with using social networks on a regular basis.  They can be a great source of information when you are living and working in another country.  For people who are comfortable using Facebook, there are usually groups they can join that are specifically designed for expats in certain parts of the world.  Facebook groups come in all shapes and sizes, so chances are there is a group for your nationality based in any major city in the world.  These groups can be useful for a variety of purposes, such as organising social gatherings, passing on local news, or giving people a head’s up about where to buy familiar imported goods locally. 

St Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow

For the more adventurous expat who would like to mingle more with the local people, you should check out any local social networking sites that are specific to that country or language group.  Facebook is international and is used in most countries around the world, but in a lot of places there is a local equivalent that is much more popular.  For example, expats in China who have some knowledge of the language should check out Sina Weibo or WeChat, people living in Russia or the former Soviet Republics can find friends on VKontakte (VK), and Skoob is a source of local info for people in Brazil.

Expat Forums

Forums, like social networks and blogs, can provide expats with a lot of good local information and tips.  As well as local advice on where to shop, how to find a plumber, and if there are jobs available, there are usually boards dedicated to specific purposes, such as making friends, offering and seeking services, or asking for advice.  Like Facebook groups, forums can bring expats together and form a community, but can also give local people access to that knowledge as well.  Unlike Facebook groups, which are often closed and are specific to one nationality, forums are open and can include people from different backgrounds.  They can also allow locals to search through and find services offered by expats, such as language lessons or translation work.

Mosel Valley, Germany

As with other forms of online information, you have to go through and search for a forum that is specific to the country you will be living in.  For instance, if you live in Russia, you might want to join, or if you’re an American living in the UK, then UK Yankee is the way to go.  A useful resource is ExpatForum, which has an extensive list of forums for different countries worldwide.


Twitter is a powerful tool that can be used to share and receive ideas at a lightning fast pace.  Avid users are skilled at hashtagging their way through life and being constantly connected to the latest news, celebrity gossip, and political scandals.  But how can it help us with living abroad?

Budapest, Hungary

When we use Twitter, our content is curated by algorithms and the people we follow.  So, if you live abroad, the best way to keep your finger on the pulse is to follow some local users.  National celebrities will give you an idea of pop culture in your host country, local news stations will keep you up to date on what’s happening in your city, and fellow expats and immigrants will give you the best of the best when it comes to local gossip.


Everyone likes photos, that’s why when we travel, we always have our phones out, snapping the best bits and posting them online for our friends to see.  Instagram is a great place to keep all of those carefully posed snapshots and spontaneous pics that will haunt us forevermore.  However, how can this enhance the expat experience?

Nashville, Tennessee

By following some local Instagrammers, expats can get some suggestions and ideas for places to go and things to see that will help them to make the most out of their stay abroad.  After all, what’s the point in going half way around the world if you don’t get out and see anything?

Igloo complex, Nunavik, Quebec

So what do we take from all of that?  The life of an expat can be full of twists, turns, and missteps, but by taking full advantage of all that social media has to offer, you can make the most of the experience and maybe find some hidden gems while you’re at it.  So next time you think about taking the plunge, head on over to some expat forums, blogs, and Facebook groups, and see if you can’t get to low down before you go.

Facebook: Find out the best ways to make the most of your expat experience. Read my tips at:

Twitter: See my 5 ways to make the most out of your #expat experience in my new blog post. Find it here:

COM0014 Blog #2 – Did We Miss the Most Helpful Technique?!

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Communication styles and techniques were the topics of discussion this week. Between “Grammar, Spelling, & Punctuation” and the “inverted pyramid,” we’ve been left with many ideas to ponder for our writing. Yet, one of the topics jogged a memory from my public speaking days that goes hand in hand with this week’s material. Que the THREE RHETORICAL APPEALS.

First, to jog your memory, the various levels of readers referred to the four stages that audiences go through while reading an article. Our job is to turn them from Elementary/ Inspectional readers to Analytical and Syntopical ones – we do this by being clear and concise. Achieving this is simple in theory, but could there be a perfect formula to promising you, readers who consume your content syntopically!? This is where the rhetorical appeals come in.

Welcome! Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

Ethos refers to the value and credibility of your words. Be that tapping into a joint ideology between you and your reader, or your credibility from life experiences, work, education, the list goes on.

Pathos is the effect on readers’ emotions. Could be descriptive storytelling that evokes a feeling from the audience. It grabs their attention from the start and reels them in for the rest of the article.

Logos, which conveniently refers to logic, is about using reason and rationality to solidify your point. Using logic, careful structure, and objective evidence can be a key to gaining respect from your readers.

Photo retrieved from Charles H Stewart on

If you want to persuade your audience to believe in your content and develop opinions around it, you have to find ways of compelling them and craft your article well enough to captivate them for the long haul. Using a perfect balance of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos mashed with the communication techniques outlined to us, we will be a force to be reckoned with online.

The Strong will prevail and the weak will flounder!

COM 0015 – Blog #2


We’ve all come across a company whose social presence has impacted us in some way whether it is their social values, their ability to use humour or just plain organized messaging. In thinking about why I like the following two organizations social media strategies, I would say that it is humour that is the underlying factor.

Skittles – Now I will admit that I am mildly creeped out by some of the Skittles TV commercials, but their twitter account is quite funny with the way they interact with their followers and poke jabs at their competitors. Skittles boasts over 402 thousand followers which is pretty impressive for a candy. They have regular tweets and seem to enjoy responding to tweets and having a little fun with their posts.

An interesting facet to Skittles social media strategy is that they don’t have a website per see. They have a tumblr account with images posted by them and customers and then they have their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube accounts which all get lots of views and interaction on.

courtesy of Lego Twitter feed

Another site that I like is @Lego_Group and @Lego on Facebook.  Since Lego is such a popular product, it stands to reason that they would have over 13 million followers. Their twitter posts are amusing even for adults and they don’t make a big push on consumerism. They showcase items with diagrams and videos and get their followers engaged with surveys and fun questions. They sell a colourful product and their social media is bright and fun. Who doesn’t love to play and create with Lego!

A company that I feel could benefit from a social media strategy is a local company, Chilliwack Bowling. Before social media was a big tool, this company had a website that you could access for rates, times and league information. Since the inception of Facebook, Chilliwack Bowling cancelled their website and made a Facebook page the “Go to” for information. The problem is that they never update information and they rarely respond to questions in a timely manner.

When customers want to find out about prices or specials, then they need to call the bowling alley and hope they get through to someone. The facebook info has not been updated since March of last year and even that post had a month between it and the last post. Customers can’t rely on this page to get the information they want and the business is starting to suffer because there is no interest in attracting new customers.

I believe an objective of this business should be to update their social media presence, starting with updating their contact information with rates, prices and any events. If they host special events, then they could post those to other facebook sites that would complement their activity (ex. If they have a teen disco night then promote on teen youth groups).

As recommend in Business news daily – here are 6 steps to follow:

  • Create a business page
  • Post regularly
  • Promote your page
  • Engage your followers
  • Leverage friends of fans
  • Try Facebook ads

They need to build up their followers list and starting liking other sites that can help promote them as well. They can build up their own followers by promoting to senior’s groups, school programs and recreational groups. If they can get the word out that they have programs that are suited for specific ages, then it would help. Right now their promotion ideas are nothing.

8 mistakes to avoid when promoting your small business Facebook page.

A good social media strategy can be the difference in having a good business or having one that is just getting by. Do you want to be seen or do you want to remain behind the scenes?

COM0014 – Blog #2: I shoot people for a living, and I brag about it.


Following a VIP in Ma’Sum Ghar, Afghanistan, in 2010. Photo by a friend.

I bet the picture with me and a camera de-fused that violent image you initially had in your head. That is the power of images.

It is my job as a photojournalist to tell stories. My story is simple. My assignments as a photographer take me anywhere and everywhere, therefore allowing to share what I experience along the way. I also have other passions like trail running, martial arts and traveling. On my blog, I want to portray myself as an accessible person who likes to share his adventures and challenges, that’s why I write in first person. I try my best to remain positive and prefer experience to opinions.

Covering the RCMP Sunset ceremonies in Ottawa, 2015. Photo by Rick Millette.

Luckily photography is a medium that is easy to share. They tell a story or show something in a way that is a lot easier than having to explain it; hence the cliché quote: “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

My intent is not to teach nor speak about the science behind photography, or at least not really in depth. There are plenty of people that do that very well in YouTube already. I try to keep it simple, and just give a bit more details about the photographs. I tell my story, very much like a journal, or a conversation I would have with my friends. It also serves the purpose of building credibility to the people who might be interested in hiring me down the road, allowing them to get to know me better before they make that first contact.

Would you allow me to shoot you now?


Documenting the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, France. Photo by my boss.


What does Facebook have on you?

Recently, a few of my friends (on Facebook of course) mentioned that they had downloaded their Facebook data to see what it is, exactly, that Facebook has/had access to.  So I decided to try it.  ( Click here to see what happens ) I am currently waiting.  It’s been about 10-15 minutes since I started the process, and now the information is ready to be downloaded.

Facebook data pic

I’ve been on Facebook for about 10 years now, so I expect there to be quite a bit of information.  For a very long time, it was simply a tool to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances from different parts of my life.  Then I started adding pictures– to fill in gaps that some of my friends may not have been familiar with.  After university, I went to Japan for a year and a half to teach English– so that was something I wanted to share.  Then, of course, came the wedding pictures.  Then I added some vacation photos.  I never understood the stream of consciousness status updates, so I did not partake in that.  At least I don’t think so.  I suppose I will find out.  Then the polls, and games and “let me guess your age based on what photos you pick” apps/games/posts appeared.  At first they were harmless fun, but when you installed the app, it asks for access to photos, birth date, contacts, etc.  Sometimes I thought that was too intrusive so I forgot that app.  Now, I’m at the “Look at my cute kid” , “Look at what fun my family is having” stage of Facebook.  I have locked down who can see the pictures- I think- to only my friends seeing the photos.

I think I’ve been careful with what information I share– I did not enter my birth year, although posting when I graduated high school and university probably gives it away- along with the alumni groups I’ve joined.  I included a few email addresses- specifically school related ones if former classmates wanted to find me that way.  I never included my phone numbers- like some of my friends did.

I’ve got 10 more minutes left on the download.  What do you think I’ll find?  Have you done it?  What did you find?  Was there anything surprising information that Facebook had that you didn’t think it has access to?  Go download what data Facebook has on you!

twitter icon  Find out what Facebook has on you!

facebook icon  What do you think you’ll find when you download your Facebook data?

Life with an F4 Asian Leopard

I thought for my second blog I would do it on a little 8 month old guy named Figaro, which came to our household from my niece and her husband. Fig was too much of a handful for them as they lived in Toronto operating their own business. Bengals need to be kept busy and they just did not have enough time in their busy day. Our first meeting was when Fig was approximately 4 months old, he was a fast, furious and lanky speed demon. We made a comment ” if you ever need a good home” then 4 months later as fate would have it we received an addition to the household.

Bengals are known for their glaring green eyes


We did not know much about the Bengal breed other than we learned very fast that they hissed, growled and he had much bigger teeth, jaw structure and nails than our other domestic felines. They also have a soft pelt which is also hypoallergenic in nature. He has a slink to his walk with his hind legs resembling that of a rabbit. He also can leap from a sitting position to the top of a six foot door with little to no effort with such grace. The internet became a really good resource on the history of the breed. Up until then I did not know anything about the breed, they are best described as a ” dog in a cat’s body “.

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I have included a link to the site    Bengals in Canada   explaining the history and information on hybrids F1 to F4 classifications in a easy to read and understand version. We found this site very helpful in order to help us understand his temperament and how to relate to him which is still a ongoing learning curve for us even after having him for 5 years. Fig wears a small dog harness and walks on a leash very well and loves it up at our cottage, there he takes on a different personality. With being in the forest environment which is closer to his natural habitat he clearly takes on more of a predator behavior. But is still a cuddle bum with us and shows off his affection without hesitation towards us.


If you were looking for an exotic pet would you consider purchasing a Bengal feline since they are truly an amazing pet


Facebook  link : Living with a exotic pet feline, can you do it?

Twitter link : Life with a Bengal leopard would it be your choice for a family pet ?



Blog #2 – Story Telling and Communication Styles – Matthew Stolarik

Get to the point! A solid introduction leading into the body helps reveal what the topic is about and what key elements are going to be addressed.  Nothing makes the reader or audience more aggravated than reading something that has no point, engaging the audience as much as possible and expanding their imagination is a plus.  The tone of voice is also an extremely large factor. Have you ever sat in class for a two hour period listening to a monotone teacher? I know I have and it was the most boring semester I’ve ever sat through, I’m surprised I even passed.


“You have ten to fifteen seconds and then you’re done!” Have you ever heard that expression? I know I have as musician and especially in the public speaking sector.  You have ten to fifteen seconds to engage the crowd in something uplifting or you’ve lost the audience’s attention.  Whether its storytelling or a written paper make sure the words jump out to the audience, almost like a brand statement – “Your statement is 1-2 sentences answering what you are the best at (value), who you serve (audience) and how you do it uniquely (USP). It sums up your unique promise of value. Your personal brand statement is distinctive to you and you alone.” (N/A, 2015)


N/A. (2015, June 1). Personal Branding. Retrieved from How to Craft Your Personal Brand Statement: